Action Research


Valsa Koshy (2010) Action Research for Improving Educational Practice (Second Edition) Sage Publications, London 0978-1-84860-160-4
Chapter 1 What is Action Research?
The development of AR: a brief background ('Research is a form of disciplined enquiry leading to the generation of knowledge.' It is aimed at improving educational practice but is a research methodology, situated in the classroom. This section is devoted to the historical landscape of AR development.)
What is involved in AR? (The AR spiral involves planning a change, implementing and observing the consequences of this change, reflecting and replanning. As with all research, integration of existing research and scholarly literature is required at all stages.)
Some definitions of AR
Examples of AR projects (These examples focus on: Introducing AfL to a class of 10 year olds; responding to the needs of mature students enrolling for teacher education courses; a teacher working within a national network of action researchers;
AR and its theoretical underpinnings (AR is not a positivist approach, which demands a logical or scientific basis for its beliefs)
Conceptualising AR (It is context bound and addresses real life problems. It is collaborative and meaning is constructed throug social enquiry)
Action researchers constructing their own knowledge
Making your philosophical stance known
The advantage of using AR as a methodology

Relatively little science education research is undertaken on teacher thinking and beliefs, compared with that on the learners in the classroom. Action Research focuses on the teachers, and how they change as a result of undertaking some actions in their classroom. Such research is inevitably qualitative, and often quite removed from the science research paradigm. Nevertheless, this research can reveal valuable insights into the roles of the teacher, a major factor in influencing what the learners experience in the classrooms.

Action Research can include evidence taken from traditional quasi-experimental methods e.g. administering tests or questionnaire. However, the focus is on the teacher, and so there is less reason for gaining learner consent since the learners are only providing reasons for teacher-change. The references below give a quick introduction to what might be considered.

Three kinds of Action Research
Handbook of Research: Action Research
Williams and Whitehouse on Action Research (contains book references)
Goodnough abstract on AR in science education
Articles on Action Research
Israeli Researchers using AR
positive features of AR
Waters-Adams on AR in Education (an excellent overview)
Journal: Educational Action Research (not in our library)